What were once considered potentially unreachable milestones for Dexter, have been reached.
Dexter has been able to sit, on his own, without throwing his head back constantly and maintaining balance, for unknown periods of time.
Where once this sitting would be counted in seconds, now, it's just something that he seems to have grasped.
Dexter still needs work, and needs to be placed in the seated position, but the strength he has shown in this one movement is amazing.
He has been able to maintain being on all fours for maybe 20-30 seconds. This doesn't sound like long at all, but for Dexter, this is a mammoth effort that needs to be rewarded. Even when he is receiving minimal support, either around his hips or under his arms, he is maintaining the position and not collapsing.
Dexter is even holding his head up higher for longer periods of time.
He is reaching for objects and holding on. He is wanting to play with things when he finds them.
He is pulling us in for hugs and turning his head to find us during therapy, to show how proud he is of the work he is doing.
He is giving us kisses, lots of kisses.
He is 'talking' more, smiling lots and learning to laugh.
He really responds well to the conductors and therapists, and they all try so hard with him. It's been lovely watching the bond develop over the last two weeks. Dexter is like any three year old, and wants to impress the people who are helping him. He gives cheeky little smiles and really laughs at them.
He has been giving sneaky 'kisses' on hands.... Teeth sometimes come through!
And he likes to snuggle in for a cheeky cuddle before starting the hard work!
It's not always happy times though.
The walking still hurts him and causes him to really cry.
The therapists seem to think it is associated with the arm wraps.
This makes it hard - the arm wraps are helping him, because while wearing them, he doesn't have to concentrate on keeping his arms straight, but they are clearly causing him pain and discomfort, which is hard to watch.
He tires easily still, and this causes his head to drop, or he gets distracted and throws his head back, both causing him to loose balance.
He is too tired to continue the work at home.
He is no longer drinking as much as before. I've put this down to too much stimulation with the sippy cup and holding on and drinking. Holding a cup, drinking from it and drinking more independently was one thing we had hoped to work on, but we have had to sit back and realise that maybe this isn't an option at the moment. Dexter needs to drink, this we know. We can't have another hospital visit, like last year, caused by pooing problems. This is a problem which can be prevented, if Dexter drinks enough. Maybe, he just needs to continue drinking from a bottle, for now.
Above all, this week has been an emotionally hard week.
We are certainly seeing improvements. They may only be small, and perhaps not noticeable to everyone, but we are seeing them.
This experience at the Conductive Education Center is also making us face the reality of the severity of Dexter's cerebral palsy. Small movements that we take for granted cause Dexter to grimace in pain, and take so much concentration - it's really not fair.
I hate cerebral palsy.
It's been tough on me, as his mum, this week. The things the therapists are doing with him seem so simple, and easy to implement into everyday activities.
It's made me realise I should have been doing things like this, right from the start - but I didn't know what to do. I keep thinking how easy it will be to take these simple activities and exercises home with us, but then honestly wonder... How I will have the time?
Three hours of my physiotherapy, occupational therapy and Dexter exercises a day is do-able - but I have an 18 month old who needs stimulation and needs time spent on her, and then I have a baby on the way...
And this makes me sad for what Dexter is potentially missing out on.
Please don't misinterpret this -
I don't want pity, and I'm not asking for help. I'm just being honest.
There have been a lot of tears shed this week, and I know there will be many more to come. I'm so glad we have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take part in this great therapy.
And, from Dexter:
At the Future Footprints Conductive Education Center,
they call Friday 'Fun Day Friday'.
I call it 'Crazy Friday'!
The therapists have so much energy, and they make me smile a lot!
They make it a lot of fun for me, so it's easier to work hard for them.
I'm concentrating really hard in this photo. I am lifting my arms up and down, and holding on to the maraca.
I just wanted to shake it!
(We'll be busy when I get back, Zoe! xx)
Happy weekend, everyone. xx
More about the Future Footprints Conductive Education Center
Conductive Education Therapy - Week One
Shake and Nod
Week 2 Day 2
Who is Dexter?
Dexter on Stage!
Dexter's Cerebral Palsy Classification
My Blog Turns Two!
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